In places of employment, by law, there has to be visible signage, informing employees of their rights, should they be injured while at work, and where they can get help. Very often, these signs are in more than one language – usually in Spanish as well as English. It’s only proper that this information is readily available.
But what about when you have to visit the emergency room, or your physician, or if you’re having a scheduled procedure? Where is the information that advises you of your rights, should something go wrong, or if you are not treated properly and appropriately? At the time of writing, no such information appears to be displayed in hospitals or waiting rooms at doctors’ surgeries (in prominent places or otherwise).
It seems that there is no responsibility to inform victims of medical malpractice in New York City. There is nothing to tell people that they may be able to pursue a claim, should they not only find themselves a victim of medical negligence but if they find that their complaints to the responsible medical or healthcare authority fall on deaf ears. Incidences of hospitals failing to take complaints seriously are sadly, on the rise, and yet, how many victims have not known they could take them to court? Especially chilling is the fact that medical negligence is the third largest killer in the US today.
All too often, by the time someone realises that legal action is an option, it’s too late, so as well as the suffering caused by the medical negligence (for example), victims may also be financially disadvantaged due to lost wages and more medical bills… and then they discover that they have no legal recourse because they’ve missed the window for filing a claim. In New York City, victims of medical malpractice usually have just 90 days from the date of the malpractice in which to file a Notice of Claim with the medical facility – if they don’t do this (because, for example, they have not been given pertinent information), they lose their right to file a suit.
Unsurprisingly, the victims of medical malpractice who most often miss out on justice are the poor, day laborers, immigrants and others for whom English is not their first language, the uneducated, the disenfranchised, and people in general who live on the fringe of society. These people have just as much right to seek justice as anyone else, and yet all too often they not only have little idea of how to go about it but have precious few people furnishing them with the relevant information and help. There are no signs in surgeries and hospitals, in any language, which inform them of their rights, and tell them that if they get no satisfactory response to a complaint made to their healthcare provider, that they are entitled to seek legal help from a medical negligence lawyer.
You don’t need to be an experienced medical malpractice attorney to understand how unfair this is. We in the US have this concept that everyone is entitled to justice, that everyone is equal… and yet by not informing patients of their rights, the message is that doctors, medical institutions, and insurers are ‘more’ equal than their patients. That fair treatment for all is not as important as keeping out of the courtroom. That keeping patients ignorant of their rights is more important than seeking to right a wrong.
If you or someone you care about has suffered because of what may be medical negligence, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Our expert medical negligence lawyers understand how overwhelmed you are feeling, will be able to answer your questions, and ascertain the best course of action for you.
Call our New York medical malpractice lawyers at Antin, Ehrlich, and Epstein LLP today on 212-221-5999 for a free consultation.